South West Resource Centre holds Free Basic Computer Training Skills for the Blind, appeals for government support. - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Thursday, September 10, 2020

South West Resource Centre holds Free Basic Computer Training Skills for the Blind, appeals for government support.


In order to bring the Physically challenged, especially the blind up to date with the modern trend in the digital world, the South West Resource Centre ,Abeokuta , Ogun State has organized a  three week Free Basic Computer Training Skills  for the blind. The training is meant to bring them at par with their contemporaries in the modern world in the area of computer skills.

Mr. Akinola Emmanuel, a Civil Servant with the Ogun State Ministry of Justice  is the Instructor for the visually impaired at the South West Resource Centre. He explained how the training is structured and how it has imparted positively on the visually impaired from all walks of life.

‘’You know this South West Resource Centre is a Technology-based Centre. A corner is left for us that whenever anybody with physical challenges come, he would be able to go along  with technology.  Since, the year 2005, they’ve e been training the visually impaired for free. So, it is a free training programme’’

He  also spoke on the number of beneficiaries since inception of the programme  upon the establishment of the Centre. ‘’ I think over 500 people have benefited. You know in the civil service, we have many people with visual challenges.  So, a number of them have been here for the training. It has been on. Everything is for free, the notes we get and the system we are using. Apart from the Civil Service, we also have students and people from all walks of life accessing the training for free’’.

The General Manager of the South West Resource Centre, Mrs. Irene Ayorinde in a remark told The Business Package  that the objective of the training is to ensure that the visually impaired  are empowered. 

‘’ It is a free Computer appreciation training, that we organized for the physically challenged in the society. It is opened to participants from all over the Six Geo-political zones of Nigeria and it is a programme that provides them with the Basic Computer Appreciation, using the JAWS ( Job Access With Speech )'’ Software, and it is usually organized by twhe South West Resource Centre and the Ogun State Government’’.

‘’The objective is to ensure that the visually  impaired  are empowered, because we realized that they already have the disadvantages of being visually challenged ; we now trained them,  so that they can be self -sustaining or at least work and have basic things especially having the Basic Computer skills’’.

According to Mrs. Ayorinde, the training had been on course for a long period of time and it is designed especially for the blind to give them a better shot to life.

Said she ‘’The Centre was opened in the year 2005 and since then, we’ve been having the training regularly. We normally do it two or three times in a year, but this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the first training we are having this year’’..

On the response obtained so far since the commencement of the training, Mrs. Ayorinde observed:

 ‘’It’s been very encouraging. We found out that people come from as far as Jos, because at the time it was set up in the year 2005, we had about six Resource Centres  all over the country, but from all indications, the South West Resource Centre in Abeokuta is the only one that is running effectively. So, we have people that are coming from the North and from the East for the training. Some of our trainees are gainfully employed. And, they are  doing very well in their respective fields’’.

On behalf of the South West Resource Centre which according to her  is the only surviving Resource Centre among the six established in the year 2005 in the six geo-political zones, of the county, the General Manager appealed for government support in order to increase the capacity of the Centre.

‘’The  awareness has been slow because we  haven’t been getting support. Support has been low, so we only did the training based on our capacity. The Instructor that we have for instance is a staff of the Ogun State government . Most of the things he does , he does for free’’.

She continued ‘’ We do not have a functional vehicle. Before now, we used to have a vehicle that will take the visually impaired  from Kuto market to the Centre  and back to town. But, we have not been able to provide that and that has actually reduced what we’re able to do. But, we are trying to rejuvenate the Centre to get more people’’.

While soliciting government support for the Centre, Mrs. Ayorinde said ‘’ One of the problems that we have is that our software is obsolete. The software for the training is a special one. It is called  JAWS and it is very expensive. The one we have now is outdated’’.

‘’Also, the equipment that the blind use are special equipment and they are also very expensive.  Most of what we have are broken down and we have to  keep repairing and patching up  what we have. Basically, we are in need of new and updated equipment. We are asking for the government to come up with assistance , so that we can train more people. Of course, our situation reduces the number of people we can train at any point in time’’.

Mr. Akinola expatiated on what is taught at the centre for the blind and what qualifications are  required to get enrolled,  ‘’Once you have School Certificate, you can apply. What is taught to the blind is the basic things on Computer appreciation ; starting the system ; how to type;l how to safe your document; how to go online and download materials etc. ’’

He sated further ‘’ Like you know I am also a Civil Servant, I work with the Ministry of Justice.  So, we are taught on how to make use of the phone, the android phone, the system and if somebody give you a file in the office, how to treat files, how to conduct searches. Then, you can as well come across some different words; you will be taught how to check the meaning of those words. That’s what they are being taught’’.

On the differences between the use of brail for the blind and the learning through the Computer software, Mr. Akinola provided further explanations:

 ‘’The use of brail for the blind, that’s the normal way of reading, we use our hands to do that. But, on computer, it is a different thing. When you bring your own laptop now, it is the same Computer for everybody. So, when you bring your own laptop, you use your eyes to look at the screen. But, this laptop, there is a software called JAWS Jobs Assisted With Speech. 

So, once you press any key or move your mouse, that programme can read anything on the screen. So, instead of using your eyes to look at it, you listen with your ears. So, it is the same system. The software are many, but we  are concentrating on the JAWS. 

One of the Participants, Mr. Bello Rafiu   shared his experience on the programme  with  The Business Package ‘’I have learnt how to operate a Computer, I have learnt Microsoft Word, Excel and generally how to operate a Computer. Before now, I have been using Computer as a sighted man in the past. I lost my sights of recent. When you are using Computer as a sighted person, you rely more on the use of mouse and you need a little guide. But, as a blind person, you need to start afresh; you must be guided on how to do it’’

 ‘’My hope is that after learning this Computer, I will be further empowered because I do not have a job since I lost my sight.  My contention is that,  when you are being placed on a job, you must know how to do some basic things. So, one need to get himself well equipped and with this training, I am well equipped’’

In the same vein, Miss Blessing Otse, a 200 level  undergraduate of Political Science Education at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye also shared here experience ‘’I have learnt  a lot. How to enter window key; how  to safe my document, learning basically about word , office and a lot of things. I am a Student . What  I learnt here  would be applicable to my studies , because that is the main reasons I am here. I have learnt  how to safe my notes.  For instance, I do recording in the school. So, now I have learnt how to move my notes to my system and be reading my notes on my system. 

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